by Swami Krishnananda
To decondition ourselves from all clogging involvements is the first step in Yoga practice. Unless we know what we are and what the world is about, how will we live in this world? We commit blunders everywhere because of not knowing what we really are and what other people also are.
In the Yoga System of the study of mind, a deep analysis has been made. The types of impressions created by objects of perception on the mind are also of different hues. It is not the same kind of cloud that is sitting on the mind, one over the other. There are different kinds of impressions. At least two types can be distinguished, about which also we have little knowledge. I mentioned to you that impressions constitute mental processes so that we are not thinking except through these clouds of pressures impressed upon the mind. What are these impressions? There are two types. Yoga psychology designates these as pain-giving and non-pain-giving. Certain impressions in our mind give trouble and sorrow, create anguish, disturbance, mental tension, emotional turmoil. There are certain other impressions which prevent us from knowing a thing as it is, but do not actually cause pain, consciously.
When you look at a tree in the forest, an impression of the tree is formed on your mind, but you are not in any way agitated by looking at the tree. You are not disturbed by looking at a mountain, or a river flowing. "Let them be there," because you are not concerned with them. Impressions created by objects with which you do not have an actual or direct concern at the present moment are known as aklishta-vrittis in the language of Yoga psychology. A vritti is a psychosis, a way in which the mind operates. It is aklishta – it does not create klesha in the mind.
The non-painful impressions are capable of creating conditions for rebirth, whereas the painful ones may be producing suffering for the time being. We do not bother about looking at the world as it is, but we worry very much about anything else which is pricking us like a needle from moment to moment. The aklishta-vrittis arise due to the externally oriented structure of the perceptional faculties.
When we love or hate a thing through a process called raga and dvesha, wrongly considering that the particular object is of this kind or that kind, we create a painful impression in our mind because we are here wrongly assessing the object when involved in love or hate. Objects are not so nice that they require our affection; they are also not so bad that they deserve our hatred, or rejection. Neither are things beautiful that we should go on looking at them, nor are they ugly that we should turn away from them. Both these ideas in our mind about things are erroneous psychological gestures. These vrittis are klishta, causing klesha, pain.
Inasmuch as our notion about a thing is ultimately wrong, our loves and hatreds also are prejudices, irrational, which cannot be justified in the end. As unjustifiable impressions are created in the mind through wrong notions, we look at things in two different ways, wanting to grab and also reject a thing at the same time. Every perception or thought of ours in regard to an object is a double activity of the mind wanting to acquire and reject.
We have an audience just now which is a concentrated presentation before us into which we would not like anything else to intrude. You would not like a cow just to run in and disturb everyone. We do not like a dog to howl just now in front of us here. You all would reject that possibility and welcome only that condition which is conducive to the presentation of the audience. You are not thinking of a dog or a cow just now, but subconsciously the potentiality is there. You do not wish something of that kind to take place. That you are not consciously thinking of that which is to be rejected, does not mean that its potential seed is not present in the mind. The possibility of a rejection is already in the subconscious and unconscious levels together with a conscious engagement in a cordial situation. The conscious mind is not the whole mind. What you are thinking just now through the conscious level is not what you are capable of thinking the whole day or throughout your life. Tomorrow you can think in another way when the present conscious operation ceases and subconscious impressions come up later on into operation. Love and hatred are the obverse and reverse of the same coin.
What, then, are you going to grab and reject in your meditational practice? Though during the initial stages of meditation certain things are supposed to be set aside and not allowed to enter into the mental process, afterwards they also have to be taken into consideration, since, in the end, everything is connected to everything else.
This object, this rose flower in front of me, is red in colour. The mind has grasped the redness of the object which is the rose by distinguishing the colour which is redness from other colours which also are available in the world but are not present in this particular object. If non-red things are not existing, the red object cannot be seen. Even when you see some particular thing, the very knowledge and consciousness of the existence of that thing is possible only if there is something else also, other than the object in question. One person cannot be seen unless there are other things different from this person; else, that person will be seen everywhere. The differentiating characteristic of the mind is a subtle activity taking place in us which will trouble us one day or the other because, ultimately, creation is not constituted of double-edged positive and negative forces. There is nothing to be grasped or rejected, loved or disliked, finally. Everything seems to be everywhere because the location, the characteristic, operation of anything is connected with similar processes of every other thing in various ways.
We have to bring to our memory the very same psychology of human nature as a pressure point of influences exerted by an infinite past and an infinite future so that no one exists in the present only. All persons exist in the past, present and future simultaneously. We are now in the present moment of time; that is what we are thinking. But we are in the past and future also, because what we are going to be influences us just now and is summoning us as a future possibility – "Beware, I am coming; receive me in the proper way." The past also is pressing us – "I am also here and you must pay my dues." Where is the present? It has vanished in a second. The present is an illusion, an airy juncture point of past and future.
So also is the case with all objects in the world. The location of an object is only a so-called one of a point which also is a presentation of pressure exerted by its relationships with other things to the right and to the left, above and below, everywhere.
This much of detail about what we are and what the world and objects are is the essence of the reference I made yesterday when I quoted two verses from the eighth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita. For your memory, I am repeating what I told you yesterday. Firstly, there is an aksharam brahma, the Absolute. There is a descending of this Being in a cosmical fashion, which is the adhibhuta, the universe that is presented before our senses. Then the Supreme Being, brahma, appears as a divinity presiding over all things: that is adhidaiva. The individuality separates itself from the cosmical setup and becomes adhyatma, the individual. Then there comes about a necessity for the adhyatma to come in contact with the Universal Whole from which it has got separated. That relationship between adhyatma and the cosmical aksharam brahma, adhibhuta, adhidaiva, is what I designated yesterday as adhidharma – the law determining the perception of the world. Adhidharma is also the principle of righteousness.
We are supposed to be moral and good in our behaviour, and we have to establish a harmonious relationship as individuals with the Cosmic Whole out of which we have come, from which we have been separated, and with which we have to maintain a proper relationship always. Dharma, righteousness, is the manner in which we have to conduct ourselves in relationship to that to which we belong; it may be this world or the whole range of all the planes. Then there is the adhiyajna, which is the field of activity, the world through which we are working, in which we are stationed and operating.
There is death of the individual taking place one day or the other. The conditioning factors of finitude call for the dissolution of the human personality because it is untrue to the Universal Integration of Being, as it maintains an egoistic individuality. This necessity, this dread before every individual living, is adhimrityu, the principle of death. But there is a saving factor which also I mentioned: adhimoksha, the law of freedom.
The forces of creation, evolution, involution, all these activities (mental, psychological, intellectual, educational, social, industrial, political, etc.), are a virtual groping in the dark, searching for that which one cannot see with the eyes. What is that which we are seeking? Freedom. All things in the world, from the lowest atom to the highest creative process, tend to ultimate freedom and none wishes to be restrained by an external power. Ultimate freedom is called moksha.
Whose moksha? Who is attaining liberation – the impressions created on the mind, or the objects outside? These names I mentioned just now, aksharam brahma, etc., the whole set of these operative principles, have to rise up to moksha at once. Moksha is not anyone's individual prerogative. Salvation is a universal attainment which passes understanding. When we wake up from dream, the entire phenomenon wakes up. We will never be able to understand how it is that the whole world rises to moksha and no finite thing goes. "I find that many people must have attained moksha by this time; the world is still continuing and if I attain moksha, the same thing will be there, the world will be there, my brothers will be here. They are not going to moksha when I go." This feeling is an idiocy in the brain. The mind will not allow one to think correctly. When one attains moksha, the whole cosmos rises up together. We may be wondering how it is possible that the whole cosmos comes up in our moksha. Here is the reason.
We are connected to all things; we cannot disconnect ourselves from anything. So when we rise up, the total that we are comes up. Otherwise, if we maintain the prejudice that the world has to be there even after moksha, then even if we attain liberation, we would be seeing this world once again from there as an object of perception. When we wake up from dream we are not thinking of our brothers that we saw in the dream – we might have had a family in dream, for instance, but when we woke up, what happened to them? Are we saying now: "Why did I leave everything? My children are all crying in the other world, from where I have come now. I have to take care of them and it is a great trouble. I have woken up leaving below all my property and relations."
The point is that they have entered into the very mind that is thinking in that way. This subtlety is difficult to grasp. The dreaming individual, together with the things that were seen in dream by the individual, got totalled up into the mind that is waking and all the world of dream entered into the waking mind. Likewise, this whole cosmos will be rolled up into the Cosmic Mind which we enter in moksha, the universal liberation of consciousness.
Sometimes a stupid idea arises in the mind of people: "What is the good of my going to moksha when others are all suffering here? Let me wait until others also go." There are really no such things as 'others'. They are there and are as important as our brothers in the dream process. The whole thing ascends, a single sea of being. For, if the whole thing cannot go, no one also can go. There is no 'part – moksha'; it is entire, or it is not there.
Now, inasmuch as this is the situation in which we are placed, and we have taken time to know honestly and dispassionately something about our own selves in a manner different from what we have been thinking about ourselves and the world, we may feel confident we have purged ourselves a little bit of the dross of our wrong thinking and we are on the way to correct thinking.
Neither am I as I appear to be, nor are you as you are appearing. I am something quite different from what I am looking like here before your eyes, and you are also quite different from what you appear to ordinary perception. The world also is quite different from what it looks like. It is a totally different thing, other than what it appears to be before our eyes. The camouflage has to be lifted. The masquerading veil has to be torn asunder and we have to see the object 'as such' in meditation, and not as it appears to the senses and the mind.
The appearance of the object as distinguished from the real object is also a study which we have to make when we take to meditation proper. Meditation on an object is not a meditation on the object as it appears to the sense organs; that would be meditation on an illusion. We have to catch the object in its root, as it is. We have to become truly friendly with the object, since we seek union with it. How can I be friendly with you unless I understand you as you really are? If I know you only superficially, my understanding of you also would be superficial and my friendship with you also would be inadequate to that extent.